Winner of the Hellam Young Artists’ Competition and the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition, Graeme Steele Johnson has established a multifaceted career as a clarinetist, writer, arranger and performance designer. He has appeared recently as a TEDx speaker, as a soloist and chamber musician at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Chicago’s Symphony Center and the Phoenix Chamber Music Society, and as a concerto soloist with the Vienna International Orchestra, Springfield Symphony Orchestra and the Caroga Lake and Vermont Mozart Festival Orchestras.
Highlights of Johnson’s summer 2019 season included a solo recital on Chicago’s Dame Myra Hess Memorial Concerts Series, as well as performances at the Ravinia Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, Maverick Concerts, Lake George Music Festival, Caroga Lake Music Festival, and chamber and concerto appearances in Prague and Vienna. In his recent TEDx talk, "Music About Nothing: Seinfeld and the Classical Style," he spoke about the structural similarities between Mozart and that '90s sitcom to explain how to hear narrative and dramatic elements in music without a plot. In 2018, Johnson designed and directed a multimedia performance concept titled IMPRESSION, which weaves the chamber music of Debussy and Ravel with the spoken poetry of Stéphane Mallarmé, culminating in Johnson’s own octet arrangement of Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun. Johnson will return to Chamber Music Northwest in 2020 to perform his arrangement with Edgar Meyer, Fred Sherry, Bella Hristova, Valerie Coleman and Hannah Lash, among others.
In 2019, Johnson became the first clarinetist to join the Young Artists roster of the Center for Musical Excellence, and in 2020 he will return to perform at Chamber Music Northwest as a resident artist of its prestigious Protégé Project. He has been broadcast on Chicago's WFMT Radio and has recorded commercially for Hyperion Records and Delos Productions, with forthcoming recordings on Cantaloupe Music and MSR Classics. His writing about music continues to be published by The Clarinet and in program booklets by Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Northwest, Yale and the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, among others.
Johnson holds graduate degrees from the Yale School of Music, where he was twice awarded the school's Alumni Association Prize. His major teachers include David Shifrin, Nathan Williams and Ricardo Morales, and he is now a doctoral fellow at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York under the mentorship of Charles Neidich.